A Hungarian survivor of the Holocaust, Rav Amital emigrated to Israel in 1944, and resumed his yeshiva studies in Jerusalem. During the War of Independence, he served in the Hagana armored corps, taking part in the famous battle of Latrun. Subsequently, he took an active role in the development of Yeshivat Hadarom, where he was involved in the formulation of the idea of yeshivat hesder. Following the Six Day War, Rav Amital founded and assumed leadership of Yeshivat Har Etzion. He was a dominant public figure in Israel, widely respected on matters of religious and national concern. As of Cheshvan 5769, Harav Yehuda Amital shlit"a, founding Rosh Yeshiva, while continuing his involvement with the yeshiva, officially retired as Rosh Yeshiva. Harav Amital passed away at the age of 85 on the 27th of Tamuz, 5770 (2010), and was mourned by thousands of students and admirers. He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Rabbanit
Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, head of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a leading rabbinic light of the Modern Orthodox and Religious Zionist communities, passed away on Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5775 at the age of 81.
His funeral took place on Tuesday, 2 Iyar in Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut. Harav zt"l was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein was born on 28 Iyar 5693 (May24, 1933) in France. In 1940, several months after the Nazi conquest of France, his family managed to escape to the United States. In his youth, he was recognized as an outstanding student at Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim Berlin, where he studied under Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner zt”l. He continued his studies at Yeshiva University under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l, who granted him rabbinic ordination. In 1960, he married Rabbi Soloveitchik’s daughter, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein.
In 1957, he completed a doctorate in English Literature at Harvard University, after which he returned to Yeshiva University to serve as an instructor in Talmud and as rosh kollel at Yeshiva University’s affiliated Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan.
In 1970, Rabbi Yehuda Amital zt”l invited Rabbi Lichtenstein to serve as co-rosh yeshiva of the recently-established Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut, Israel. Rabbi Lichtenstein accepted the offer and made aliya with his family in 1971. They served together as rashei yeshiva for four decades and taught thousands of students, among them many rabbis and educators. Rabbi Lichtenstein also served as rector of Herzog College and as rosh kollel of Yeshiva University’s Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. He resided in Jerusalem from the time of his aliya until 2006, when he and his wife moved to Alon Shevut in Gush Etzion, near Yeshivat Har Etzion. In 2011 he announced his retirement from daily teaching, and devoted himself mainly to writing.
Throughout his career, Rabbi Lichtenstein combined sovereign mastery of the vast expanses of Torah knowledge with breathtaking analytic depth and sharpness. His diligence in Torah study, day and night, was legendary. Hundreds of his students became rashei yeshiva and rabbis in Israel and throughout the world. Yet alongside his genuine Torah greatness, he was renowned for his deep humility, nobility and love of humanity.
Over the years, Rabbi Lichtenstein published many articles on Talmud, Halakha and philosophy. Many of these were collected in his books Minchat Aviv and the eight-volume series Shiurei HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein on the Talmud, as well as in his books on Jewish thought and ethics Leaves of Faith (2 volumes), Varieties of Jewish Experience, By His Light: Character and Values in the Service of God, and in the recent series of interviews by Rabbi Chaim Sabato, Mevakshei Panekha. On Yom HaAtzmaut 2014 he was awarded Israel’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, for his extensive and varied Torah literature. He also was awarded the Rav Kook Prize for Torah Literature in 2013 for his volumes on the Talmud. The award committee’s decision declared that “In these books, Rabbi Lichtenstein brings the Brisker conceptual method of Torah study to its highest luster, to deep and impressive fulfillment, opening up methods of traditional Talmudic analysis for the current generation.”
Rabbi Lichtenstein leaves behind his wife, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein, six children, including head of Yeshivat Har Etzion Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein and head of the Women’s Beit Midrash in Migdal Oz Mrs. Esti Rosenberg, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Read more.
Rav Yakov Medan studied at the Netiv Meir High School in Jerusalem and in 1968, joined the first class at Yeshivat Har Etzion. He served in the IDF in the Airborne Nachal Infantry unit in the Hesder Program, and afterwards, returned to the Yeshiva as a Ram. He earned his Semicha from Yeshivat Har Etzion, a Bachelor of Education degree from Michlala in Jerusalem and a Master's degree from Touro College. Rav Medan teaches Tanach at Yeshivat Har Etzion and at numerous Yeshivot hesder and colleges throughout the country, and is considered one of the outstanding educators of Tanach today. In 2000, Rav Medan served as a Board member of the school for conversion of the Ne'eman Committee, and thus began is involvement, together with Prof. Ruth Gavison, in composing a renewed pact for relations between religious and secular, for which he was awarded the Avichai Prize. Today, Rav Medan serves as a Ram for fourth-year students at Yeshivat Har Etzion, teaches Tanach and Jewish Thought at the Yeshiva and Herzog College, and taught at the Advanced Torah Institute of Bar Ilan University and at many other institutions. In 5766, Harav Yaakov was inaugurated, together with Harav Baruch Gigi, as Rosh Yeshiva, alongside the founding roshei yeshiva, to be joined in 5769 by Harav Mosheh Lichtenstein.
Rav Baruch Gigi came to Israel from Morocco at the age of 11 and joined Yeshivat Har Etzion in 1975. He earned his Semicha at theYeshiva and a Bachelor of Education degree from the Herzog College. From1983-1988, Rav Gigi served as a Ram and Rosh Kollel at the Hesder Yeshiva "Ma'a lot," and since 1988, he has served as a Ram at Yeshivat Har Etzion. Rav Gigi currently teaches Hilchot Shabbat in the Kollel of the Yeshiva and serves as the Rav of the Sephardic Synagogue in Alon Shevut. He also teaches at the Beit Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz and at the Women's Advocates Training Program of Ohr-Torah Stone Institutes. In 5766, Harav Baruch was inaugurated, together with Harav Yaakov Medan, as Rosh Yeshiva, alongside the founding roshei yeshiva, to be joined in 5769 by Harav Mosheh Lichtenstein.
Harav Mosheh Lichtenstein came on aliya with his family in 1971 from